“Two Choruses Premiere A New Work Honoring Ukraine by Burlington Composer Michael Schachter”
Seven Days

“Langston Hughes Sings in ‘The Black Clown'”
New York Times

“‘The Black Clown’ Beautifully Reconfigures a Langston Hughes Poem”
New Yorker

“At ART, Langston Hughes Like You’ve Never Heard”
Boston Globe

“‘The Black Clown’ Unveils America’s Three-Ring Circus of Racism”
Boston Globe

“Little Shards of Dissonance”
Harvard Magazine

“How Bass-Baritone Davóne Tines is rethinking America’s Anthem”
Los Angeles Times


“Goings-on About Town: A Music-Theatre Adaptation of Langston Hughes’s ‘The Black Clown'”
New Yorker

“Tap Acrobatics in ‘The Black Clown'”
New York Times


“Schachter’s concerto is a big, complex, and impressive work. . . Although I heard both performances of the Schachter concerto, I could have easily wished for a half-dozen more. This is a beautiful work with layer after layer of intriguing moments that appear and then vanish ephemerally — much like the cycle of life itself.”
Arts Knoxville

“Fantastic. . . what luscious colors Schachter creates. Nothing is random. Everything makes perfect sense yet is quite different from anything I’ve heard. Schachter keeps you on your toes. Just when he turns up the virtuosic fireworks, he pulls back in the most compelling way.” (Diana Skinner)

“Magnificent. . . adapted by Mr. Tines and Michael Schachter from Langston Hughes’s 1931 poem, this rich, seamless production melds the past and present of African-American history into an electrifyingly ambivalent whole. . . both a bravura, in-the-moment entertainment and a haunted, self-conscious questioning of the ways in which it entertains. . . Mr. Schachter’s exquisitely layered score takes many of its musical cues from Hughes’s annotations.”
New York Times (Ben Brantley: Critic’s Pick)

“An arresting work of music theater. . . this kind of boundary-pushing work used to be a hallmark of the Lincoln Center Festival. Now it has found a home at Mostly Mozart. I bet that Mozart, a true man of the theater, would have been proud to share the stage.”
New York Times (Anthony Tommasini)

“A controlled explosion of joy and rage that meets desires audiences didn’t even know they had. . . [a] musical-theater tour de force. . . there’s not a flagging moment from overture to final cadence.”
New York Magazine

“A remarkable new music-theater work of significance and disturbing beauty. . . ‘The Black Clown’ and its stunning production deserve a longer stint in the metropolitan area. . . Schachter’s melodic score is a hot melting pot that pours out early jazz, gospel, classic R&B, swing, and operatic styles of music, augmented by classic spirituals such as “Nobody Knows” and “Motherless Child” that are beautifully arranged and hauntingly sung. The score is resonant and dramatic, yet old-school in flavor, since the poem deals out pre-hip-hop history.”
New York Stage Review

“Pure poetry. “The Black Clown” has made its grand entrance in a world premiere at the American Repertory Theater, with an opening night performance Wednesday that brought down the house.”
Boston Globe

“The Black Clown is precisely why we have and need theater. . . filling the air around us with song and sight that plunges into the soul.  It’s the kind of piece that returns you to the world you entered just 70 minutes before, if not a changed person, then certainly a vastly more enlightened one.”
WGBH Boston

“Staggering. . . astonishing. . . bringing overwhelming humanity to exactly the place where it is needed.”
Los Angeles Times

“Incisive and persuasive. . . Hughes’s text offers annotations on music and mood for each of his 17 stanzas, and while Schachter has noted them he has gone way past them. His score features absorbing tunes in an extraordinary amalgam of styles. . . this is one of those scores so interesting and involving, you wish you could purchase it in the lobby on the way out.”
New York Stage Review

“Davóne Tines, who stars in the title role, and Michael Schachter, who wrote the score, have adapted Hughes’ iconic work to create something that is so much greater. . . a mind-blowing theatrical experience.”
Theater Mirror

“An essential work of artistic bravery and truth.”

Copyright 2013-22 by Michael Schachter. michael.schachter [at]